Germany got off to a winning start at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, as they beat Costa Rica 2-1 in their opening match at the Fatorda Stadium, Goa, on Saturday. Captain Jann-Fiete Arp and Noah Awuku scored the goals for the Germans while Andres Gomez netted the consolation for the Costa Ricans.
Coach Christian Wuch chose a 4-3-3 formation with skipper Jann-Fiete Arp, Nicolas Kuehn and Dennis Jastrzembski leading the attack for Germany. On the other hand, Breansse Camacho opted for a 4-4-2 shape though Andres Gomez primarily stayed on top when Costa Rica didn't have the ball.
It was Costa Rica who went on the attack from the word go. A foul on Costa Rica's Josue Abarca by Yannik Keitel resulted in a freekick in a dangerous position very early on. But Greivin Fonseca's free-kick went wide in the first minute. Soon after, Luka Plogmann was caught out during a back pass as Gomez rushed towards the German goalkeeper with the ball falling for Abarca but a goal did not materialise. Abarca's good work on the right was visible once again as his cross saw Gomez head the ball wide in the eighth minute.
In the 12th minute, Nicolas Kuehn's free-kick from left saw Jastrzembski's header saved by Ricardo Montenegro who was called into action one more time as the Costa Rica goalkeeper denied Kuehn from close range.
Montenegro was finally beaten in his goal when Arp latched on to Kuehn's pass and chipped it over the onrushing goalkeeper in the 21st minute. After a passive period in the match, Elias Abouchabaka came close to finding the right corner of the goal. Just before the end of the first half, Kuehn's cross from the right was left for Arp to take a snipe-shot at goal but was prevented by a goal-line save by Amferny Arias.
In the second half, the Germans got back into the action right away with Jastrzembski cutting back a pass from Kuehn for Arp, but the eventual shot flew wide. 10 minutes into the second half, Kuehn's failed attempt to flick the ball off Pascal Hackenthal's throw-in was deflected by Karin Arce against the shot of John Yeboah. Then came the equaliser, when Gomez chested down a pass from Abarca and made sure it was sent past Plogmann in the 64th minute.
But the Germans had the last laugh as Noah Awuku gracefully found the back of the net to restore his side's lead in the 89th minute after the German substitute made the best of Fernan Faerron's mistimed clearance from Arp's cross from the right to ensure the Europeans won all three points on offer.